(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)
I love a good mantra… you know… an inspirational phrase or quote that snaps life and your place in it right into focus. And inevitably when I talk with my coaching clients or catch up with an old friend, I find myself sharing the one mantra that has served me well over the years:
The room is better because you’re in it.
It’s simple yet powerful.
Now, you might not be aware of this indelible truth because… well, you’re you. And that means you’re used to being you—good, bad, ugly, beautiful—and you probably take your contributions for granted.
But here’s the thing: when you exit a room, that room changes. And guess what? All your sizzle-pop? It walks right out the door with you. Your personality. Your expertise. Your very presence… it’s all gone once that door has closed behind you.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at your coworker. What happens when she leaves the room? Her opinions. Her energy. Her insights… poof! Once she leaves, all that goes with her.
People are not “factory issued” resources —there’s no way you can be replaced by just any other warm body! On the contrary, you’re a unique person with your particular lived experience and perspective to contribute. Add in your specific work experiences, project history and leadership expertise and you, my friend, are one-of-a-kind.
But, sometimes we downplay our significance. We get quiet. We get small. We let others take up all the oxygen in the room. There are all kinds of reasons this happens—imposter syndrome, burnout (because we’re just too tired to try), or fear of standing out too much amongst our peers.
No matter what role you play in your company, if YOU show up, your team and organization benefit. Fresh ideas, innovative approaches and critical validations all thrive when you and those around you ‘bring it’ in critical moments. This is especially true of historically suppressed voices. Where once it was expected that everyone ‘get in where they fit in’ and conform to antiquated corporate norms, it’s now a business imperative to uncover the distinct perspectives around the table.
So, you feelin’ like a boss, yet? I hope so… because the world needs your voice and the mosaic of perspectives you bring to any room. So go tape it to the mirror, repeat it before a big meeting, share it with a colleague who needs a confidence boost. Eight powerful words that have served me well over the years…
The room is better because YOU’RE in it!